How to build business through innovative partnerships

Stronger Together. Safety in Numbers. United We Stand. The idea of aligning your interests to someone else’s for mutual benefit isn’t a new one, but there’s a reason these sayings are repeated over and over again. It’s because they’ve been proven to be true.

Just as pulling together can be beneficial in society, finding partners can also be a great way to build your business. There are compelling reasons to look to other businesses offering services in your market sector, geographic area or within your customer demographic to see how a partnership might be mutually beneficial. But there are two key ideas to keep in mind when considering a partnership proposition.

Will it increase offerings or value for your current customers?

The first thing to remember when working to grow any business is the customer the business already serves. Customers are your most critical assets, and any partnership arrangement should either preserve these relationships or, if possible, build them. One way to build on existing customer relationships is by finding a partner that can enhance or increase your offerings, bringing additional services and value to your customers.

For example, Molina Healthcare of Ohio recently launched the Molina Quality Living Program, a partnership with nursing facilities that meet or exceed specific performance criteria when providing care to members in custodial care. Though the customers involved are already Molina members, this unique program offers incentives for both the partner facilities and the resident members that build loyalty and increase value.

The program offers financial incentives to nursing facilities demonstrating their dedication to taking excellent care of existing Molina members. The partnership also offers recognition for excellent facilities — increasing their marketing exposure through our channels — and offers additional money to be used to enrich resident life through the purchase of equipment and supplies.

Will it solve a business problem?

One issue facing health care providers today is inappropriate use of the emergency room for issues related to behavioral health. Patients often wait longer than they should for care. Molina Healthcare began looking for ways to get more patients access to the right services at the right time. Partnering with ViaQuest turned out to be the answer.

ViaQuest allows Molina Healthcare to offer emergency room physicians access to a behavioral health provider for a consult via telemedicine while the member is the emergency room.

When patients are in need of behavioral health care, timing is often critical, and this allows for instantaneous service from an experienced clinician. ViaQuest then works with the member following discharge to ensure they are linked to the appropriate services to prevent future emergency room visits. When physical and behavioral health care are integrated in this way, patient outcomes improve significantly.


There are many things to think about when considering a partnership with another business, but most importantly, existing customers should be at the heart of any undertaking.


Ami Cole is the President of Molina Healthcare of Ohio, the state’s second largest Medicaid Managed Care Plan with 337,000 members. Ami has more than 17 years of health care experience, including nearly 10 years at Molina, before rising to become president. She is also active in the community, serving as a board member for the nonprofit After-School All-Stars.